Body Cameras More Valuable Than Dash Cameras, Tulsa Police Say

Wednesday, August 16th 2017, 6:45 pm
By: News On 6

Dash cameras will be phased out at the Tulsa Police Department now that officers are getting body cameras.

They'd like to have it all, but it just comes down to money.

8/14/2017 Related Story: Tulsa Police Officers Begin Training With New Body Cams

It's taken nearly three years to get the body cameras for officers, but police say they've weighed the pros and cons, and this is the right choice.

Dash-camera video can be invaluable when the public and police interact.

Here in Tulsa that video has become a major source of transparency for the police department.

Showing everything from officer-involved shootings to assaults on police officers and when arrests turn violent.

But this resource is going away.

"Right now it just comes down to a funding source. If we could find a funding source that would allow us to keep both options available to us, we would readily do that. That would be fantastic, but right now we just don't have the money and the best bang for our buck is the body cameras," said Tulsa Police Sergeant Shane Tuell.

This week, officers are getting outfitted with those body cameras.

The department expects every officer to be set up with a camera and go live by the end of the year.

"You do lose that good video of what goes on just in front of the car, but just outside of the view of the car is what you gain from having the body-worn camera," Tuell said.

The department says when you have to choose between this view and that one, there's no question.

"So we really want that one-on-one interaction officers have with individuals because that's where a majority of your complaints come from and that's where a majority of your enforcement action comes from," Tuell said.

The good news is that the phase-out of dash cameras will be slow.

For the next few years, most officers will have both a dash camera and a body camera.